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Bell Boulevard set to shut down for BID’s Weekend Walk

Photo by Christina Santucci
By Phil Corso

Bell Boulevard will be closed for an entire day this September for what the Bayside Village Business Improvement District announced as Bayside’s first weekend walk event.

Lyle Sclair, executive director for the BID, said his group signed on to the city Department of Transportation event earlier this year with hopes of bringing more foot traffic and attention to the busy commercial strip without the distraction of busy traffic.

“This is our chance to showcase what Bell has to offer,” Sclair said of the event at a BID meeting in Bayside.

On the last Sunday in September, Sclair said sections of Bell Boulevard will be closed to vehicles so merchants can take to the streets. Unlike a typical street fair, Sclair said the Weekend Walk event will only be open to Bayside BID members so they can show off their businesses through demonstrations, contests, sales, shows and more.

Restaurants along the boulevard will offer outdoor café services without having to acquire additional permits or fees, the DOT said. Other businesses will be hitting the sidewalks to showcase special sales and demonstrations, according to BID Chairman Dominick Bruccoleri.

“The hardest part of this whole thing is to get the merchants involved,” Bruccoleri said. “That has always been our main goal through all the different events we have put together.”

The event was just one of several on the BID’s agenda for the upcoming year, Sclair said, as the group looks to build on its momentum gained during the first half of 2013.

“Our accomplishments lie in the sheer number of events we have done so far,” said Sclair, who joined the BID in the middle of 2012. “We have been working to make sure every event supports what everyone is doing individually and seeing how the BID can leverage that.”

The NYC Weekend Walk program was launched through the DOT and is available for business districts throughout the five boroughs. It was included in Mayor Bloomberg’s World Class Streets initiative to promote new ways to use public spaces throughout the five boroughs.

The city said 23 total sites were slated for the 2013 season, which goes from May through October.

The BID was listed by the city as one of several community partners working to make the Weekend Walk program more robust in the borough, joining with the Astoria Park Alliance, Sunnyside Shines BID and other city groups.

Weekend Walks have already been happening throughout the city during the last five years, including spots in Astoria and Sunnyside, the DOT said.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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